Microsoft plans to bring iMessage support to Windows 11 via Phone Link for iOS, although it will have some limitations.
Apple’s iMessage is a defining characteristic of the iPhone experience, one that has caused no small amount of frustration for users of other platforms. Given the number of features iMessage includes, Apple is aggressively protective of the messaging platform, viewing it as one of its most valuable elements that keep customers locked into its walled garden.
Microsoft plans on bringing one of the best features of iMessage to Windows. Apple customers have long been able to send and receive iMessages from their Macs, and now Windows users will be able to as well.
Microsoft is rolling out the feature to Windows Insiders, although it will have some major limitations in its current form.
Once the guided installation completes and your iPhone is paired to your PC and the right permissions given, Phone Link will deliver basic iOS support for calls, messages, and contacts. This means you will be notified directly through your Windows notifications. Phone Link does not support replying to group messages or sending media in messages.
Apple has been under increasing pressure to adopt RCS messaging for iPhone-to-Android communication, a measure that would have no impact on iPhone-to-iPhone communication, but would significantly improve cross-platform messaging.
Unfortunately, Apple has no interest in pursuing such a course, but other companies are working to solve the issue without Apple’s help. Sunbird is working on a messaging app that will bring full iMessage support to Android, and now Microsoft is bringing at least some support to Windows.
Hopefully, Microsoft and others will be able to address this issue sooner rather than later and eliminate a major pain point in the mobile world.